Interview with Coatsink

To celebrate Shu release on Vita, we would like to present you an interview with one of the games creators – Jon Wilson. Also, Jack Sanderson – Coatsink PR Manager, jumped in to tell us, how we liked Pyrkon and Poland.

MyPSVITA: Let’s start with Shu, which hit Vita on June 7th. It’s great, that you thought about making portable version. There’s already a lot of materials from the game and praising reviews but could you try to describe Shu? What do you personally like in the game?
Jon Wilson – Level Designer in Coatsink: Shu is a platform game about outrunning the end of the world using (literally) the power of friendship.
Personally, my favourite part of the game is its themes and motifs. ‘Friendship’ and ‘bittersweet’ were a constant mantra for myself when designing the art for the game. This gave us a strong start for basing ideas for all aspects of the game. For example, these cute avian characters live in this colourful and whimsical world yet, it is being destroyed by a horrific and unrelenting Lovecraftian inspired storm. This helped to give value to ‘bittersweet’. These themes also influenced the game design. We wanted a game where Shu gains new abilities as the game progresses. We didn’t just want to have the usual tropes of obtaining a scroll or runestone and then Shu magically learns this new ability, we wanted to tie it more into the theme of ‘friendship’ so Shu must hold hands with friends to be imbued with their abilities.

Do you think that everyone will be able to finish the game? You know, not everybody is super skilled so sometimes even simple beating the game may be impossible. How it looks in Shu case?
I feel like most people will be able to beat Shu as it offers something different for various player skill levels. Yes the game might require precision platforming if you want to secure the best time, get all the butterflies, and find all the babbies but that is more for completionists. Even if you’re not the best at platforming game you shouldn’t find it too hard to complete.
Shu seems to have gone down well with players of all ages. Where younger people are drawn in more by the cute characters and vivid world while old gamers are attracted to the precision gameplay and speed running aspect. We also have a rather forgiving checkpoint system that provides ample opportunity to retry each section.

It all sounds great. And Vita owners will have additional reason to pick up the game because of exclusive level. Why did you decide to add it? Will it use one of Vitas special functions?
The additional area in the Vita version acts as a sort of trophy room that will track the player progress with the level opening up more as you progress through the game saving villagers. The refuge feels more at home on Vita as it adds a new way to track progress and view some the game concept art. Making for a enjoyable little mobile experience on the go.


Beside 6 free DLCs, do you have plans for more additional content in still free or payable option?
We have been working Shu for a little while now, and have only recently finished working on the additional levels and Vita version of the game. Shu will always be close to us at the studio and is something we might revisit in the future. However we do have a number of other projects going on in the studio right now, and I think the team is ready to try it hand at something new.

The release comes after Steam and PS4. Was porting the game hard? What were the challenges to have it run smoothly on PSV?
Obviously the Vita isn’t as powerful as a PS4 or PC so getting Shu to run smoothly posed a number of challenges. We learnt a lot about Vita development and optimisation in general while porting the game. It was important for us to hit 60 FPS as well as provide a similar experience to the one provided by the PS4 and Steam versions.
Vita doesn’t have a great deal of memory to go around so we had to compress everything within those limits without losing too much quality and performance.

Is there still anything for Vita from you in the future? For example… Could Superglad be a Vita exclusive if you could get back to it?
Superglad is currently on hiatus due the amount of work we have on right with other projects if we were to ever go back to it would we consider bringing it to Vita? We wouldn’t necessarily rule it out, but would only do it if it made sense for the game.

How do you see Vita future? Is kinda outdated hardware a problem for developers?
The Vita may have quite  niche audience and be a little outdated on the hardware side of things now, but it has a lot of really diehard fans. The Vita community is extremely passionate and gets behind all sorts of games. I still feel that the Vita is still a impressive bit of kit, but yes it is quite difficult to develop for due to its hardware limitations. Vita still thrives in Japan and will continue to do so long as it is supported.

Do you have it? If yes, which games are your favorite on it?
I do still own a Vita! One of my favorite games on the system was Persona 4 golden, I lost hundreds of hours that game. Mainly because it was a massive JRPG you could take with you on the go. Killzone Mercenary is another one of my favourites, if you haven’t played it I would recommend it. It successfully demonstrated how to bring a AAA FPS experience to a handheld complete with multiplayer.

Sony keeps silent about any possibility of PSV successor and we see how they struggle with promoting their handheld. Do you think they could make another portable console or try to combine it, maybe replace it with smartphone or tablet?As much as I would like to see a successor to the Vita just to see what shape it might take in today’s market. I feel Sony is more likely to focus on streaming services so you can play games on other devices such as PCs, Laptops, Tablets and smartphones. Saying that if anyone is crazy enough to attempt making successor to the Vita its Sony.


As we’re on subject of new tech, Coatsink seems to like VR. You already released two parts of Esper and two new games are in development. What is so captivating in this technology?
VR offers a range of exciting new opportunities and possibilities that wouldn’t be possible on console. It might still be in the early stages, but as it evolves the restrictions and limitations are slowly falling away.
One of the most captivating things about VR is the idea of been teleported to a completely new worlds where you can be truly immersed in stunning and breathtaking locations. The inclusion of motion controls in another great addition and allows you to be more involved in the action than ever before.

And what about PlayStation VR? Do you want to port your games to it too? Or there’s something, what stops you?
When it come to porting games we tend to look at the game and assess whether it makes sense for the project and would it really benefit from it.

So do you plan to focus on those kind of games or you will get back to normal stuff?
We have been heavily involved in VR for the last few years with the majority of the studio working on VR titles but we did finish Shu while those VR games were been worked on. Going forward we will continue to work on what makes sense for us as a studio while looking to work on both VR and more traditional content.


Moving aside from games, it’s great that you came to Poland to Pyrkon! How you came across it,  whose idea was to come here and why?
We came across it thanks to a couple of Polish Indie dev’s to recommended Pyrkon and GIC to us, Our PR Manager who is at most of the events decided it was a good idea for us to show our games off to a Polish community and help gain event more exposure to a wider audience.

How did you like Pyrkon? Were people interested with your games?
Jack Sanderson – PR Manager in Coatsink: We love showing our games off all around the world and speaking to the gaming / Geek culture communities. Prykon was no different, we managed to speak to lots of lovely people and seeing them leave with a smile on their face after playing our games!  Thank you Pyrkon 🙂

And what about Poland, did you had time to explore Poznań?

Poland was a beautiful place, It was both mine and my colleague’s first time in Poland, Poznan was such a beautiful city with stunning architecture and GOATS! Who doesn’t love goats!
Watch this space as we would love to exhibit again in Poland!

Thank you very much for your time and good luck with your projects! 
Thank you 🙂

You can find more information about Coatsink on their website, Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to follow Shu official Twitter, too!


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